Rukshana is a young mother who contracted tuberculosis when her son was less than a year old. She was sent to Calcutta Rescue’s Belgachia TB clinic. Today, she is not only battling TB, she has also become an “ambassador” for TB treatment in her community.
She could not get treatment at a government run hospital, as she was too poor to pay for the drugs. Her husband works in a factory and earns about RS 5,000 ($75) a month. When she arrived at Calcutta Rescue, she had fever, chest and back pains and was tired and depressed all the time. She was not only rejected by her neighbors, she was attacked and was not allowed to use the shared toilet in the slum.
After three month’s treatment her condition had not improved, in fact tests showed Rukshana had multi-drug-resistant TB which requires a cocktail of powerful drugs, and which can take two years to cure. Rukshana thought she was going to die. But Babita, who runs the clinic, worked tirelessly at counseling and motivating her to come to the clinic, take her drugs, and not give up. The team also went to her home to explain the disease to neighbors and her family. Rukshana is now confident that, with the help of Calcutta Rescue, she will beat TB.
And she is passionate about helping others beat TB too. She is giving health lessons to other patients, and assisting the TB team when it is under pressure. She said: “They are doing great work. They help patients very much. If any patient is unable to come to clinic, they visit their home with the medicine. I have learnt many things – how to stay happy, how to talk with people. I am very excited that my treatment will be finished soon.”